Gor Mahia will miss the services of dependable defenders Harun Shakava and Joash Onyango during the CAF Confederations Cup qualifier first leg match against New Stars of Cameroon due to suspension. The duo have been suspended until January 13 when their disciplinary case will be discussed in a CAF meeting in Cairo, Egypt.
CAF slapped a ban on the two following ugly scenes during their Champions League second leg knock-out match against Lobi Stars in Enugu, Nigeria last month, where Gor lost 2-0 to crash out of the competition on away goal following a 3-3 aggregate draw.
In a letter, CAF claims Shakava was in involved in a physical altercation with Lobi Stars goalkeeper, John Lawrence, when he reacted following a slap by the Nigerian custodian. Joash on the other hand was reported to have used ‘abusive language’ against the referee.
“Reports indicate that player no.12, Joash Onyango confronted the referee at the end of the match and insulted him with abusive language. Furthermore Lobi Stars goalkeeper, John Lawrence jersey number (16) slapped player no. 18 Harun Shakava of Gor Mahia who then retaliated by kicking the custodian on the back,” reads part of the letter.
The referee Tinyiko Victor from South Africa in his match report indicated that he was about to show them red cards, but was evacuated by police due to the pitch invasion by Lobi fans.
“Therefore you are kindly requested to note that both Gor Mahia players no. 12 and no. 18 are provisionally suspended from taking part in CAF inter-clubs matches until the submission of the case to CAF Disciplinary board in its next meeting (January 13),” added CAF.
Shakava and Onyango and Lawrence face up to two-match ban should they return a guilty verdict while Lobi stays could face hefty fines and be forced to play without their fans for one or two matches, as per the CAF statutes.
Shakava says he retaliated out of anger after the Nigerian keeper slapped him in a confrontation, but also insists the referee was unfair and leaned on one side with major decisions favoring the home side.
“I am very disappointed but CAF should check the clips of the match and also take action on referee as he was unfair to us, he denied us a clear penalty and when I questioned as captain, Lobi keeper slapped in full view of the official before chaotic fans entered the stadium”.
Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay says he wil have to go to the drawing board and get the best pairing at the heart of defense, as they seek victory at home. “We have to work with what we have right now until the case is resolved probably Momanyi will partner Pascal Ogweno or Joachim Oluoch at the back,” said Oktay
New stars are expected in the country today and will have a feeling of the match venue at Kasarani tomorrow. The aggregate winner will proceed to the group stages. Gor finished third in their pool with eight points to miss out on a last eight berth, by a whisker, only one point behind Rwandan side Rayon sport who proceeded as runners up to Algerian side USM Alger.